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Metaverse

VR meetings with holograms, powered by metaverse startup DoubleMe

Telcom giant SK Telecom joins for broader adoption of 5G

By Dec 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

HoloDash, one of the hologram-based products from DoubleMe
HoloDash, one of the hologram-based products from DoubleMe

Come next year, attending meetings as a hologram version of yourself is set to become more common.

Metaverse startup DoubleMe plans to commercialize hologram-based Mixed Reality as a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) service as early as the first quarter of 2022, supported by 5G networks and multi-access edge computing (MEC).

MEC is an architecture concept that enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network.

FIRST B2C VR MEETING PRODUCT IN KOREA 

To achieve wide adoption, building holograms in the digital space that accurately reflect individuals in the physical world is key. 

Previously, there have been uni-directional concerts and educational content using holograms, which meant the holographic content was only visible on one side.  

DoubleMe plans to launch a two-way hologram Mixed Reality, in which a user can independently create his or her hologram within the system. When commercialized, it will be the country's first such product. 

HOW IT WORKS

Using artificial intelligence, the company creates holograms based on photos taken with a 3D camera. Users can view other participants appearing as holograms with wearable devices; be it one-on-one or in multi-access meetings. 

The plan is to also allow those without 3D cameras or wearable devices to view the hologram content on their smartphones or computers. 

To make it all possible, a combination of computing power that can process large amounts of graphic and low latency communications infrastructure is a must. These factors are also the reasons why B2C hologram services have not yet been commercialized.

DoubleMe aims to change that by using SK Telecom's 5G MEC and cloud infrastructure. MEC enables faster transmission and reception by allowing data processing from close proximity to users. Cloud services also have similar advantages in that real-time computing is done via the cloud near the user's device, as opposed to using the specific user's.

Using hologram imagery enables companies to create high-quality educational, administrative, and entertainment content. 

The obvious advantage is that digital content and the physical world are both available for view in multiple perspectives. For example, you can watch an explanatory video to follow workout movements or learn how to assemble furniture. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for online content has skyrocketed. Industry insiders forecast growing application not only for international conferences, forums, and interviews but also for private lessons and family gatherings. 

India-based market research firm BIS Research estimates the global holographic imaging market will jump 2.7 times by 2025; from $607.6 million to more than $1.8 billion.

Acqua! by Twinworld is a metaverse-reflecting aquarium by DoubleMe
Acqua! by Twinworld is a metaverse-reflecting aquarium by DoubleMe

TELECOM COMPANIES EAGER FOR 5G ADOPTION

Telecom companies are also bullish on hologram content as they will be able to market it to bolster demand for 5G services. An industry insider says video streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix have been the main products prompting users to switch from 3G to LTE. 

To sway users from LTE to 5G, the industry needs a product more generally accepted than online games. 

Domestic telecom giant SK Telecom has been running Jump Studio since June 2020, as part of a closer collaboration with Microsoft. 

It uses Microsoft’s volumetric video capture technology to create holographic videos by shooting a person’s dynamic movements. SK Telecom’s "T Real Platform," which is built with spatial recognition and rendering technologies, is incorporated into the videos.

The company also launched U+ Drive, a platform for providing XR or Extended Reality, referring to real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. 

Write to Han-gyeol Seon at always@hankyung.com

Jee Abbey Lee edited this article
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